Is your dog or cat stressed?
How to spot signs of stress in your pets and what you can do about it.
Stress can affect everyone – and that includes your pets. Dogs and cats can feel anxious, or even a little bit blue. There can be a variety of reasons for these feelings and associated behaviour.
Identifying stress in your pets
Dogs and cats can feel anxious, and even a little bit blue. There can be a variety of reasons for these feelings and associated behaviour.
A few years ago, a friend who had a rescue dog was alarmed by new and erratic behaviour. This once placid dog had become destructive. Despite being aged six, he started destroying furniture, toileting indoors and generally becoming a homewrecker.
He also became picky about his food and slightly withdrawn. A series of tests followed at the vets. After everything came back clear, our friends were asked if anything had changed at home. It had.
A change of job for one of his owners meant the dog’s routine had changed completely. He could not get used to his owner working evenings and weekends.
A few new training techniques, a change in diet, and some natural supplements for dogs all helped him feel less anxious about the changes in his life. He was soon back to his old self.
So how can you spot the signs of stress in your pets?
Here are the main signs of stress you should look out for in your dogs and cats:
What can you do?
There are simple steps you can take to help your pets if they are suffering from stress:
A Safe Haven
Pets love to have territory that they can call their own and where they feel safe and can go to destress. This can be a crate, a comfortable bed, or an area like under the stairs. It’s particularly important if they are going to be left at home for longer periods of time and if this is a new experience for them.
Make it comfortable with a comforting bed and toy. But don’t leave anything with squeaks or can be chewed into small pieces that could cause an issue if they swallowed it.
Consider leaving some music playing if you are going to leave them alone, particularly if they aren’t used to being on their own.
A Natural Supplement
Adding a natural supplement to your pet’s diet can help ease their feelings of stress and anxiety. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that helps increase the levels of serotonin in the brain.This can help ease symptoms of stress and depression. Valerian can also be used as a herbal aid to ease anxiety and to promote sleep. Both can be found in PetExx Stress Less.
A routine is crucial. Try to avoid any big changes to mealtimes and bedtimes. This will be really helpful if there are going to be new visitors to the house or you’re leaving them alone. It gives them an anchor for their lives to work around.
If you’re going to change your routine, it’s crucial you prepare them with some simple training. Build up the amount of time you leave them and ensure they have had some time to adjust to change.
General training can also help dogs cope with stress. Check out the online classes offered by organisations like Battersea Dog and Cat Home.
If your pet is stressed in certain situations, like a trip to the vet, meeting new people and animals, or being left at home, it’s crucial you don’t show your own anxiety. As well as looking to you for guidance they will take their lead from your behaviour and stress levels. As difficult as it is, stay calm and help them cope with their own feelings.
A Trip to the Vet
As with all changes in behaviour, a visit to your vet is always a good idea. It’s important to rule out other causes of stress like pain that could be caused by a variety of health issues. Just like our friends’ dog, it’s best to rule out physical as well as tackling the mental issues of behaviour.
Then consider a natural supplement for dogs or cats to help ease their stress.